We're discussing The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming our Passion, Purpose, and Sanity. The first two conversations are
Part 1(discussing Habit 1)
Part 2 (still discussing Habit 1)
Before we move on, I wanted to pick up a comment from last week and offer some encouragement. Someone left an anonymous comment and wrote, "What does one do who does not feel she has any real talents or gifts? Or any that would have any use to the world?"
I think we all go through periods where we feel as if we have nothing of value to offer the world. The opening assertion of this book is that we have value in our homes. Great value. While talents and gifts that are of use to the world aren't readily apparent, it is my prayer for you that you start small and you see the value--the gift, the treasure, the unmatched jewel--you are to you husband and children.
God knows your value in your home. You are mother to the very children for whom you were created. He intentionally put those children in your life and entrusted you with mothering them. He knows the gifts you bring to the job and He is certain they are exactly what is needed.
The first suggestion Dr. Meeker makes towards making this habit stick is to make a list. Think of the things you do well and write them on paper. Pretty paper, I think would be best;-) You do have talents. What are the things you do that make your husband smile? How do you bring comfort to a child? What do your friends value in your friendship? What makes you happy, brings you peace, offers you the sense of a job well done at the end of the day?
Write it down.
And then begin to replace the negative thoughts with positive ones. Dr. Meeker writes, "Start being the kind of friend you want to be and stop thinking about how your friends let you down, Tremendous amounts of energy leave us daily because we exhaust it in trying what not to be rather than embracing what we want to do."
The second way to make this habit stick is live to impress no one. It may seem as if the girl next door has endless gifts and talents that she pours like golden light over the whole world. Thank God for her and then, quietly, without comparing, light a candle in your own home. I think that blogs, for all their good and for all the community they foster, are particularly detrimental to helping women stop comparing. It's so easy to compare when it pops up right in front of you day after day.
Here's the thing: most bloggers sweep some powder across their noses and put on a little lipstick before they open their virtual doors. Even when we're honest about our bad days, most of us are conscious about how appropriate it is to put things in print. If the blogger comes from a print journalism background, even more so. She understands the power of the written word and she's inclined to be prudent. We put on our company manners so to speak.
This summer, I lived one of my most challenging parenting weeks ever while I had a house full of company. I assure you that I would have moved about my house and carried myself differently if there had not been people other than family members in my home. Maybe that timing was providential. It brought a certain reserve to my demeanor 24/7. That's the reserve most bloggers bring to their writing and pictures. It's well-intentioned. It's not about impressing as much as it's about good manners. There is a time and a place for everything. The blogs I most like to visit, like the women in person around whom I'm most comfortable, are the ones where women accept themselves for who they are and live their lives authentically and graciously.
In order to make the habit stick, we have to be women who are comfortable in our own skin, who live to answer God's call on our lives, and no one else's. "Women who have a healthy sense of their own value are delightful to be around because they never play games, put on airs or try to impress anyone. They don’t need to because they have a sense that they lack very little. It isn’t that they are enamored with [sic] themselves—quite the opposite. They are humble. They are so comfortable with who they are that they are free to elevate others. Mothers who constantly badmouth others are profoundly insecure but mothers who feel secure speak with an ease and joy that lets the hearer see their conﬁdence. One of the best ways to feel better about who we are as mothers is to push ourselves to accept who we are. We do this by refusing to pretend with anyone."
Also from last week, Cheryl left a comment drawing attention to a Toolbox prepared to help focus study of the Habits. You find that here. Thanks, Cheryl!
Comments are open, but moderated, so it might take a moment or two (or three or an hour) to see yours appear. Please do share your thoughts. We all benefit from the discussion.
Lord willing, I'll have some thoughts on Habit 2 for you later today.